With A No-Jail Plea Deal In A Rape Case, Affluenza Is Alive And Well In Texas [Opinion]

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First, there was the case of Ethan Couch in Tarrant County, Texas, who was found guilty of killing four people in a car crash in which he was impaired but walked out of the courtroom with 10 years probation. Now there is Jacob Walter Anderson in nearby McLennan County, Texas, who has gotten a similar “sweetheart” deal after he was indicted for drugging and raping a woman at a Baylor University fraternity party where he was the frat president.

Both of these men sidestepped a jury with no-punishment deals signed off on by judges. What do they have in common? They are both white and wealthy in Texas, suffering from affluenza, or the damage incurred from growing up rich in Texas, and rarely hearing the word “no.”

In the case against Jacob Walter Anderson, who was expelled from Baylor University after his indictment, Vic Feazell, the lawyer for the victim (known only as Donna Doe), made a public statement, indicating that in his opinion, Anderson got preferential treatment, says the Huffington Post. The former fraternity president was arrested after being accused of drugging and raping the victim multiple times while choking her at a party.

“I never, ever have seen such a sweetheart deal for a defendant like this. It pays to be rich and white in McLennan County when you’re charged with a crime.”

Anderson pleaded down charges of rape, drugging, and assault to unlawful restraint. He must pay a fine of $400, get drug and alcohol counseling, and be on probation for three years. Anderson will not have to register as a sex offender under the deal signed off on by Judge Ralph Strother, and delivered by Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde.

Feazell continued, saying that Anderson (who was kicked out of Baylor University after their own internal investigation, and is now enrolled at University of Texas) was facing two to 20 years in prison, a $10k fine, and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, but instead was able to walk out of the courtroom following a victim’s impact statement presided over by Strother, but not attended by the District Attorney Abel Reyna or ADA Hilary LaBorde.

“Our entire system failed this young woman. In 40 years of law practice, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

But Donna Doe still delivered her statement to Judge Ralph Strother and Jacob Walter Anderson, noting that the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office didn’t even bother to send a representative out of respect, says the Washington Post.

“If I had the courage to come back to Waco and face my rapist and testify, you could at least have had enough respect for me to show up today. You both will have to live with this decision to let a rapist run free in society without any warning to future victims.”

After getting the affluenza pass, Ethan Couch still couldn’t stay on the straight and narrow despite his no-jail deal, violating probation with drugs and alcohol and going on the run to Mexico before being apprehended by the FBI. Hopefully, when and if Anderson violates his probation, no other women will be injured in the process.